When Andy Warhol was awarded the Sixth Independent Film Award by Film Culture magazine, the following appraisal of Warhol's films appeared in the Summer 1964 (No. 33) issue of the magazine:
Sixth Independent Film Award
"On the cover: Beverly Grant on the
set of the Rompalmhol Production
'A Lavender Filter Throughout'
(A Cancatenation of Jack Smiths)
by Andy Warhol in association with
Henry Romney and John Palmer, 1964"
To point out original American contributions to the cinema, F.C. is awarding its Sixth Independent Film Award to ANDY WARHOL for his films SLEEP, HAIRCUT, EAT, KISS, and EMPIRE.
(Past Independent Film Awards: SHADOWS, Cassavetes, 1959; PULL MY DAISY, Frank-Leslie, 1960; PRIMARY, Leacock-Maysles, 1961; THE DEAD and PRELUDE, Brakhage, 1962; FLAMING CREATURES, Jack Smith, 1963.)
Andy Warhol is taking cinema back to its origins, to the days of Lumiere, for a rejuvenation and a cleansing. In his work, he has abandoned all the "cinematic" form and subject adornments that cinema had gathered around itself until now. He has focused his lens on the plainest images possible in the plainest manner possible. With his artist's intuition as his only guide, he records, almost obsessively, man's daily activities, the things he sees around him.
A strange thing occurs. The world becomes transposed, intensified, electrified. We see it sharper than before. Not in dramatic, rearranged contexts and meanings, not in the service of something else (even Cine Verite did not escape this subjection of the objective reality to ideas) but as pure as it is in itself: eating as eating, sleeping as sleeping, haircut as haircut.
We watch a Warhol movie with no hurry. The first thing he does is that he stops us from running. His camera rarely moves. It stays fixed on the subject like there was nothing more beautiful and no thing more important than that subject. It stays there longer than we are used to. Long enough for us to begin to free ourselves from all that we thought about haircutting or eating or the Empire State Building; or, for that matter, about cinema. We begin to realize that we have never really seen those actions. The whole reality around us becomes differently interesting, and we feel like we have to begin filming everything anew. A new way of looking at things and the screen is given through the personal vision of Andy Warhol; a new angle, a new insight - a shift necessitated, no doubt, by the inner changes that are taking place in man.
As a result of Andy Warhol's work, we are going to see soon these simple phenomena, like Eating, or Trees, or Sunrise filmed by a number of different artists, each time differently, each time a new Tree, a new Eating, a new Sunrise. Some of them will be bad, some good, some mediocre, like any other movie - and somebody will make a masterpiece. In any case, it will be a new adventure; the world seen through a consciousness that is not running after big dramatic events but is focused on more subtle changes and nuances. Andy Warhol's cinema is a meditation on the objective world; in a sense, it is a cinema of happiness.
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher: Jonas Mekas
Editors: Louis Brigante, George N. Fenin,
Adolfas Mekas, Andrew Sarris, P. Adams Sitney,
David C. Stone, Harold Humes.